Stew Friedman: “Leading the Life You Want” | Talks at Google

Stew Friedman: “Leading the Life You Want” | Talks at Google

Articles Blog

[APPLAUSE] STEW FRIEDMAN: Hi, everybody. Thanks so much for being here. I see some old faces. There’s a former student here. So I’ll be cold
calling you, Vincent. You better be ready. No, it’s great to be here. I was actually here
about six years ago. And it’s wonderful to be back. So, yeah I’m going to be
a bit of a provocateur, I hope, and get you
to think about things in perhaps a different way. I want to challenge you to
think about this question. And when I ask it– I’ve been
asking this question a lot now. People have been asking me. I’ve been asking them. We’ve been having all kinds
of interesting conversations. Are you leading
the life you want? Most people say no. So that seems sad to me. And it creates all kinds of
opportunities for all of us to rethink, well,
what does it mean to be leading the life you want? What do we know from research
in leadership development and in work-life
integration, which I’ve been doing for
almost three decades now? What do we know about
how to bring together the different parts of
life for mutual gain? And what I hope to do
in this next 45 minutes or so is to give you some ideas,
some models, and some tools that you can use so
that you leave here with a specific
plan for something that you’re going
to do that’s new, that’s you design to
make things better in the different
parts of your life. So I want this to be practical. This is not just going
to be me talking. In fact, at a certain
point very soon, I’m going to ask you to
take out your smartphones or your computers
and go to a site online and do an 18-item
assessment that will take you about three minutes,
which will hopefully provoke your thinking further. So thank you so much, again,
Ashley, for inviting me and to all of you for coming. Let’s start with this
question, because this is about leadership, and it’s
about work-life integration. It’s really a marriage of
those two fields, my approach. When I ask you this
question, what comes to mind? What’s your response
in a word or phrase? AUDIENCE: Creative. STEW FRIEDMAN:
Creative, yeah, OK. What else, what other thoughts? Sorry? AUDIENCE: Gutsy. STEW FRIEDMAN: Gutsy. AUDIENCE: Flexible. STEW FRIEDMAN: Sorry? AUDIENCE: Flexible. STEW FRIEDMAN: Flexible. Yeah, that’s the one– I’ve
been asking this question many, many times now over
the last few years in talks about leadership from the point
of view of the whole person. And that’s the one I hear
most no matter where I go, whether it’s in Santiago, Chile,
or in Paris or in Brooklyn. It’s the need to be
adaptive and creative. AUDIENCE: Feminine. STEW FRIEDMAN: Sorry? AUDIENCE: Feminine. STEW FRIEDMAN: Feminine. I don’t usually hear
that, [? Gobi. ?] But I think the bringing
together of the masculine and the feminine
and of embracing many different worldviews. Well, I want to start to get
your mental juices flowing here, thinking about the
concept of leadership and what it means to you. Because the models for
leadership that most of us grew up with as children are
no longer fitting for the world as it is. And so we need to rethink. So let me just take a little
bit of a backwards view. How has the world shifted
even over the 30 years that I’ve been teaching
at the Wharton School? That’s correct, 30 years. Give me some love for that. [LAUGHING] [APPLAUSE] STEW FRIEDMAN: 30 years.
[INAUDIBLE], Vincent, come on. Things have changed a lot, so
all kinds of societal shifts. And we’ve been studying
at Wharton for decades now how attitudes
and values of people at our school and
elsewhere are changing. And of course they’re
radical, the roles of women in society,
the nature of work, what people expect of work. This, as you can see, if you
see that young man in the middle there– do you recognize him? That’s me 20 years ago in
one of our early conferences on how to integrate work
and the rest of life. So we’ve been at
this for a long time. And we went into the
field to look for models. Who’s doing this well? Who’s integrating the
different parts of their lives in a way that works for them
and for their businesses and for their families
and communities? And how do they do it? So that’s what I’m
here to share with you, the fruits of that research
and where that has gone. But so many changes in terms
of what people expect of work. One of the questions we’ve
been asking for years is, do you expect to
work at the same company when you graduate
as when you retire? So I’ve been asking this
since the mid-’80s of Wharton students. Back in the mid-’80s, what
do you think the percentage of people who said,
yeah, that’s my plan, I’m going to work
in the same company? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] STEW FRIEDMAN: It was about 70%. And a while ago,
not too long ago, I asked the same question of
a group of 70 fresh-faced MBA students. How many of you plan to
be in the same company your whole career? How many hands do
you think went up? AUDIENCE: One. STEW FRIEDMAN: Well,
there were two. There were two. And then they were both
heirs to major fortunes, so. [LAUGHING] All kinds of
changes in mobility. People expect to move, as
probably most of you do. And naturally the
digital age has changed everything about the
nature of human communication and how we build trust. And most importantly, as
you think about yourself as a leader– and that’s
who I see when I look out on this room, is a group
of developing leaders. So this is not about a
position in a hierarchy. It’s really about
you as a person and how you mobilize people
towards goals that matter. The big question is, what do
you focus your attention on? And that’s become
a lot harder thing to manage in the
digital age when the pull for your attention
is sitting either close to your heart or in your
back pocket all the time. So now in the modern world,
the boundaries between work and the rest of
life are no longer on the basis of the natural
flow of seasons and time and the sun rising
and the sun setting. It’s all internal. You choose when to turn it
on, when to turn it off. Completely new, none of
us grew up with that. So learning how to respond
to that and globalization, so many other aspects have
changed the leadership landscape, which requires
us to think differently about what we mean
by leadership. So that’s where I
want to start, just shake up your thinking a bit. Yeah what I learned as a kid
probably doesn’t hold anymore. Yet I still probably
have it in my head. So we went out to the
field and found, all right, what is it that people
do who are successful? And we found that
there are these three principles that they follow. And they seem to be
kind of universal across business sectors and,
indeed, across countries. And I wrote about this in a
book called “Total Leadership,” which really is the story of
this course that I created, initially at Ford Motor Company. So in 1999, I went to Ford Motor
Company for 2 and 1/2 years. I left Wharton and was head of
leadership development there. And there we had an
opportunity to create some new ways of
learning leadership. And that’s where we created
Total Leadership, which is about how to produce
mutual gains in all the different parts, how
to improve performance at work, at home, in the
community, and for yourself. So it’s about what I call Four
Way Wins, which are a lot more available to everyone
than most people think. Most people think you have
to balance and trade off. And that is the
wrong way to think about the relationship
between work and life. Because when you think
about balance, you think, well, my career
is getting better. I’m getting a lot more money, a
lot more authority, a lot more opportunities for
creative action. And what’s wrong
with this picture? AUDIENCE: You didn’t
start with it? STEW FRIEDMAN:
Something– say it again? AUDIENCE: You didn’t
start with it? STEW FRIEDMAN: You
didn’t start with what? AUDIENCE: You said what’s
wrong with the picture. You said that this
person has a [INAUDIBLE]. Now I can be creative. But before they didn’t. STEW FRIEDMAN: Ah,
yeah, so it’s only after a certain amount of time. But what I mainly
wanted to point to was the fact that if you think
about the scales in balance and one going up the and
the other going down, it connotes this notion of
trading off all the time. And that’s your mental frame. You’re thinking, I have to give
something up in order to gain. And what I want
to challenge here is the idea that it doesn’t
have to always be true. Of course, sacrifice
is necessary. Of course there’s going to be
disappointment, even tragedy. But in what we’ve seen now
through many years of work in a number of different
organizations and with students is that if you look for
opportunities to make things better in all the
different parts, it’s a lot more likely that you
can do that than if you assume you can’t. So how do you do that? Well, you’ve got to think about
these different domains, work, home, community, and self,
and what they mean to you. And so what I described
in this book was this step-by-step course,
a program, really, that took about four months. And it starts with being real. So that’s the first principle. What matters most to you? How do you act
with authenticity? By clarifying what
matters most to you, so your values your vision. And you spend some time
writing about that, thinking about that, talking
about that with peers. What does it mean to be whole? To respect the whole,
to act with integrity by bringing the pieces
together as one. So the root of the
term “integrity” is one, integer, coherence. And there, it’s a matter of
respecting the whole person by identifying who
matters most to you in the different
parts of your life, at work, at home,
in the community. Who are those people? Why are they important to you? What do they expect of you? What do you expect of them? And in speaking to them about
your mutual expectations, clarifying them through
conversation, which also takes a few weeks and
is pretty intense, and from all of that
kind of diagnostic work, coming up with ideas
for innovation, being innovative,
acting with creativity, by experimenting continually
with how things get done. So there’s a period
of a month or two where you do experiments
that you design that are intended to
pursue Four Way Wins. And you measure the results. And you reflect on what works
and what doesn’t and learn some new things about
what’s possible in terms of your creating change in
your world that’s sustainable, because it works
not just for you, not just for your business,
not just for your home, not just for your family, but
for all the different parts. Well, reflecting
on that, you draw insights for how you can
take these ideas further and discover more such
opportunities for creating meaningful change in your world. But the problem
with this is that it takes about four months. And people were
saying to me, well, what if I don’t
want the whole meal, if I just want to
go to the buffet and just take a little
piece here and there? Right now I’m teaching this
course on a MOOC, on Coursera. And we’ve got
almost 90,000 people that have enrolled
in this class. So it’s happening
all over the world. But that’s a 1-week
process, and not everybody’s willing to invest. So one of the reasons why
I wrote the current book was to create a way that
people could sample and access content in a faster, easier way. But the more pressing
point was this question that I got wherever I went
from super-high achievers. And that is, well, come on,
Stew, to be really successful, don’t you have to
sacrifice everything? And the answer is no. Now, you might think of people
who are contrary to that. But I urge you to
think about what success means for
them and for you. And you might be quite
skeptical right now as I’m speaking and thinking,
well, yeah, Stew, you don’t really understand. You don’t get it. You don’t know my family. You don’t know my business life. You don’t know my career. You don’t know
where I come from. You don’t know what
I’m trying– well, of course I know
none of those things. But what I’m asking you to do
for this next half hour or so is just keep an open mind
and see where this takes you in thinking about
what might be possible for you to take yourself
to the next level that you haven’t thought about. So the current
book is a response to those two needs,
something faster and easier and to help to demonstrate
that, in fact, the people who are most successful
are those who don’t forsake the other
parts of their lives, but rather embrace them. And that’s what I want
to tell you about here and hopefully inspire
you and perhaps instruct you on how
you can develop greater capacity for doing
the same thing. Let me ask you to think
about this chart here. You don’t have to
write anything. I just want you to
think about this. So I’m going to ask you to
take a quick snapshot of what I’ll call The Four-Way View. So you’ve got these
four domains, however you want to define them work,
home, community, and self. If you were to take 100
points and allocate them according to, right now,
how important each domain is to you, how would you
allocate those 100 points? Just think about that for a sec. Now think about your waking
time during a typical week. Where is your attention? Because now we’re talking
about your attention, right? Because this is your most
precious asset, not just your physical presence, but
your psychological presence, which are two different things. What did I just say? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] STEW FRIEDMAN: What
exactly did I just say? Can you repeat what I just said? AUDIENCE: The exact sentence? STEW FRIEDMAN:
Close, paraphrase. AUDIENCE: Well, you [INAUDIBLE]
to see the difference between the focus– STEW FRIEDMAN: Yes. AUDIENCE: –on the
four categories and the real importance
you give them. STEW FRIEDMAN: OK, that’s what
I had just asked you to do. So you’re paying attention. So you’re physically present
and psychologically present. Maybe not everyone here is. But it’s hard. It’s hard to manage
those boundaries. I want you to
think about where’s your head at when
you’re awake, according to these four domains. So you take another 100
points and allocate them according to where your
mind is, all right? And now I want you to think,
quickly now, what would you say about how satisfied you
are, your sense of well being? And I know that you do
this here and that you ask yourself these questions
as part of your regular survey process. So you’ve probably
thought about this. How well are things
going for you at work, at home,
in the community, and for yourself, on a scale
of 1 to 10, from not at all to wonderfully satisfying? And then finally,
think about how well things are going from the
perspective of other people. So if I were to have a
conversation, Vincent, with the five people who
know you best at Google, and I were to ask
them, how’s Vincent doing in meeting your
expectations for performance? On average, Vincent,
on a scale of 1, poorly, 10,
outstandingly– and I expect since you were such an
outstanding student in my class 20 years ago that it would
be a total 10, but maybe not. What would they say? You don’t have to answer this. But you probably all know this. Think about how the
same question would go if we asked
members of your family and in your community,
your friends, neighbors, social groups, what have
you, and then for yourself, your own performance in
meeting your own goals for your intellectual
development, your spiritual growth,
your emotional health, your physical health. All right, so this snapshot
is the Four-Way View. And we typically do
this at the beginning of this four-month program. And now what I want to
show you is what happens, what people report– and this
is a study of about 300 of them who did this program not that
long ago– four months later when they completed the same
brief assessment, all right? So let’s look at
what has changed. So comparing the ratings– this
is the average ratings for how important the different domains
are before and after– what do you see? [SOUND OF SEAGULLS] Are we on the beach? AUDIENCE: About the same. [LAUGHING] [SOUND OF SEAGULLS] STEW FRIEDMAN: We
are on the beach. About the same, yeah,
exactly the same, right? So there’s no drugs here. This is not a cult. There’s no surgery. Your values are your values. They don’t shift. What does shift,
though, is we compare the tension, on average, where
it goes, before and after, what do you see? What has shifted? AUDIENCE: It goes out. It gets closer. STEW FRIEDMAN: It gets closer. And how does that happen? AUDIENCE: Take away from work. STEW FRIEDMAN: Take
away from work, right. And that’s what happens. When you ask people
to discover more about what they care about,
what the people around them need most from them,
and then experiment with how to get things
done that are good for them and good for you,
what typically happens is some of the
attention shifts away from work and towards
the other domains. And often when I present
this to senior executives, someone in the back
of the room will say to her neighbor,
who is this jerk, and why did we bring him here? I don’t understand what
we’re talking about. Why would we– I
mean, is this what they’re teaching at Wharton now? Less attention to work? Why would we want that? Well, we want that because
if you look at the results in terms of improvements in
satisfaction and performance, to a lesser degree, as assessed
by the people– those are delta percentages– that 8%
percent, assuming these data are valid, that’s
a positive number. So how do you explain that? Less attention to work, better
satisfaction across the board, and improved
performance at work? Less attention,
improved performance– that seems paradoxical. How do you explain it? What’s your theory? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] then you
can perform better at work. STEW FRIEDMAN: Maybe when you
take care of things outside of work, you are less
distracted when you’re at work. That’s one of the things that
we see time and time again, less distraction,
better ability to focus. Any other reasons why you
might see this result? Sir? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] dropped
their standards on [INAUDIBLE]? [LAUGHING] STEW FRIEDMAN: Sure. No, the measures change. And we ask about that, yeah. So you become more realistic
about what other people expect of you, so it’s easier to
meet those expectations once you realize that they’re
not as high as you thought, yes, which in itself
is quite liberating when you think about it. So yeah, you get a
more realistic picture of what others expect of you. Other ideas? AUDIENCE: One specific example
of this that I’ve found is that if I take
the time to work out in the middle of the day, I feel
like I have more mental focus in the latter half of the
day instead of the afternoon malaise. STEW FRIEDMAN: Yeah. Your brain is working
differently, yeah. AUDIENCE: Like a runner’s high. STEW FRIEDMAN: Like
the runner’s high, yes. That does affect
your performance. And one of the most common kinds
of experiments that people do is that they do physical
activity or they change their diet so as to
make things better, not just for their
physical health, their mental functioning, but
their performance as assessed by others at work, as
well as at home, as well as in the community. So there are some
obvious reasons why you’d see positive gains. Well, so that’s one
way in which I’m trying to address the skeptics. But it’s usually not enough. They want to know, how
do I conquer the world and do all this other stuff,
all this nice stuff that you’re talking about,
Professor, Airhead, doesn’t really know anything
about the real world? In fact, I was a
senior executive at a big company
for a few years. So I have some idea. Well, that motivated me to
want to go out and find stories of super successful
people, by most standards, by any standard, and to
discover in their stories how they did it. And so I’ve got
hundreds and hundreds of biographies that
students have written and that I have investigated,
and in this book, “Leading the Life You Want,
Skills for Integrating Work and Life,” I’ve
distilled it down to six people, some of whom
you know well, some of whom you haven’t heard of. And let me just
tell you they are, and then I’ll tell you a little
bit about how they got there and what you can learn
from their model. So Tom Tierney– any of you
know who Tom Tierney is? AUDIENCE: Bain. STEW FRIEDMAN: Yes, he was
the former CEO of Bain. And in his mid-40s in the late
’90s, he quit as CEO of Bain and started up Bridgespan,
which is an offshoot that brought Bain’s consulting
services to the social sector. Now, Sheryl Sandberg
I know you all know. She used to work here. And four years ago when she
first got on my radar screen, she wasn’t the household
name that she is now. So there’s probably
not much more I can tell you about her
story, although there might be. Because my interview
with her for this book revealed some things that
you might find interesting. Eric Greitens– who
knows Eric Greitens? OK, Eric Greitens is the
youngest of the group. He was a Rhodes scholar,
humanitarian worker in the ’90s, went to war-torn
areas, drug-infested areas to basically feed children
and protect people, but wasn’t really
protecting them, in fact, realized that
the heart is not enough, that when bad guys
are out there, you need a fist, too, to protect
people who are being hurt. So he became a Navy
SEAL in his late 20s and then was deployed in
the Middle East three times, won a Purple Heart
and a Bronze Star. And when he came
back, he created an organization called The
Mission Continues, which helps wounded veterans heal
by giving them opportunities to serve here back at
home, remarkable story. Michelle Obama– most
of you know who she is. But you may not
know about her story and how she got to where she is. Julie Foudy– soccer fans? Hello? No? She’s the co-captain of
the women’s national team that won the World Cup in
the ’90s and two Olympic gold medals. But she’s in this
book, not because of her prowess on the
field, but rather because of her leadership
in women’s sports to create parity between men
and women in soccer and also for her founding the
Sports Leadership Academy, which empowers girls to become
great leaders through soccer. And finally, Bruce
Springsteen– most of you are too young to know who
Bruce Springsteen is probably. [LAUGHING] He’s the oldest of the lot,
rock icon, true leader. OK, so what can we
learn from these people? How do they get there? Now I want you to actually
take out your machines and go to this site,
because there’s an 18-item self-assessment
there that’s going to introduce
you to the skills that these people have used. So I’ve taken those
three principles of be real, be
whole, be innovative, and broken them down into
skills that anybody can learn. So first place to start
is assess yourself on these skills. So tell me if you have any
problem getting to this site, which is Now, if you need a paper version
of this, Ashley has a copy. Anybody need paper? Did you get who
you’re most like? AUDIENCE: Yeah. STEW FRIEDMAN: Who are
you most like, Becca? AUDIENCE: You want
to guess, or no? STEW FRIEDMAN: No, no,
there’s no way I’m guessing. I don’t know you. AUDIENCE: Michelle Obama. STEW FRIEDMAN:
Michelle Obama, OK. AUDIENCE: Bruce. STEW FRIEDMAN: Bruce! [LAUGHING] AUDIENCE: Sheryl Sandberg. STEW FRIEDMAN: Sheryl. Any Erics out there? Excellent. Tom? Tommy T? Let me tell you what this means. Can I move on? Who needs more time? Raise your hand. OK, take another 30 seconds. Drew! DREW: Hey, Stew. [LAUGHING] DREW: Sorry, I didn’t
mean to interrupt. STEW FRIEDMAN: No, we’re just
finishing up a little exercise here at this site,
which you can do later. It’s great to see you. DREW: Great to see you. STEW FRIEDMAN: Eric? Is there an Eric here? And a Julie, OK. So everybody’s represented. All right, it’s really just
to pique your interest. The way this works is
that your strengths are most like the
three skills that are particularly exemplary
in these six people. So let me just go through
those really quickly. So what I do in the book is
I’ve written “New Yorker” style profiles of each of these six
people, which you will find riveting reading,
I’m certain, 100%. So if you like stories,
the stories are fun. But then after each
story, I analyze them in terms of these skills. How did they cultivate
these skills? And what does it tell
us about how you can? And then in the back
half of the book, and we’re going to get
to that in a second, there’s a bunch of
exercises that I’ve curated from modern research in
psychology and related fields that you can pick and choose
to focus on developing the skills that are
important to you. And we’re going to do one of
those here before we’re done. So with Tierney, for example,
envision your legacy, really important skill. This is a guy who, since his
early days as a young adult, has been journaling and
reflecting quite regularly and almost obsessively
on his life. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Am I going in a direction
that makes sense to me? And back in the ’80s, he
came up with this idea of what he called a
make-a-difference company. He knew he wanted to
create a company that was going to make a
difference in society. But he didn’t know exactly
what that looked like. So he talked about it. And the idea
germinated, germinated. It was 15 years later
that Bridgespan began. But he had in mind this idea
of envisioning his legacy. He’s also really good at
weaving the difference strands of his life
together and being creative about seeing new
ways of doing things. But let’s just focus on
that first one for now. With Sandburg, as she
told me, the first draft of “Lean In”– which
has sold how many books? 2 and 1/2 million? The first draft of
that, her husband, who you may also know,
David Goldberg, the CEO of surveymonkey,
told her, nobody’s going to want to read this. It’s really boring. Why was it boring? Well, it was quite
astute with respect to the research on
unconscious bias and the things that hold women
back at work and in society, but what it was lacking was
any heart and soul or story. And yet, it was when
she kind of came out at Barnard in the
commencement speech of 2011 and told her story
that people really started paying attention to her. So she’s a natural
storyteller, and indeed by then forcing herself
to bring those stories into the narrative that
that book really came alive and indeed launched
a kind of social movement. She’s also exceptionally
good and exemplary at building networks with
the women at Silicon Valley and being creative about
resolving conflicts between the different
parts of her life in what seems very
clearly to be a 50/50 relationship with her husband. All right, Eric Greitens– I
told you something about him. It’s hard to imagine a
better example of somebody holding himself accountable
for what he really believed in. Because when he was
confronted with the idea that I’ve got to protect these
people, not just feed them, so what does that mean? Well, it means I need to become
a Navy SEAL to be a fighter so that I can actually do that. That’s really holding
yourself accountable. But he’s also very
good at taking what he had cultivated
in one part of his life, how he learned about
human resilience in these terrible circumstances
and how people survive by serving others,
and applying that in the founding of
The Mission Continues. That’s the founding idea. Wounded veterans want
to continue to serve. Let’s create opportunities
for them to do that. And that’s what The
Mission Continues is, and indeed the first
fellow– and now there have been hundreds and
hundreds and hundreds of them who are placed in settings
where they can be of service. The very first one
is Chris Marvin. He was a student in my
class four years ago, and that’s how I found out
about Eric’s amazing story. Michelle Obama– none of these
people went to private school or grew up with a lot of money. They made themselves
into who they are. Now, than they did have luck. They had talent, for sure. But what to me is inspiring
about these stories is that they took
themselves further and they are avid about
continually learning. And that’s certainly
true of Obama, whose story is especially
interesting when you think about how she has
managed the boundaries among the different
parts of her life, when she first moved
to the White House and how she created as close
to normal an environment for her kids, which
was super important, and how she’s done
that and how they have done that as a family
is really quite instructive. Julie Foudy– when she saw that
the men were getting a better deal than the women in
soccer, she stood up and said, that can’t be. And she got the support
of people like Billie Jean King and others to
figure out a way to stand up to challenge
the status quo, based on her knowledge, really
cultivated by her parents, that you have to know what
really matters to yourself. Finally, Bruce, why
is Bruce in this? Well, not only am
I a lifelong fan, but he’s also a
really good exemplar of these skills of being
yourself wherever you go. of being very clear with other
people what matters to you and listening to them,
including his audience, and responding to
them all the time. And he’s a teacher. If you watch is his 2012
keynote at South by Southwest, it’s really remarkable, a
history of rock and roll and what he’s trying to teach
young musicians about what the field is all about. If you look at the video of
the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony,
his bandmate and friend, Steve Van Zandt says to him,
65 years old this guy is, and he’s got bigger
global market share than he’s ever
had in his life. They just continue to grow. Why is that? Because he’s constantly
pushing the boundaries of his creative talent. And he makes other people
around him do the same. He creates cultures
of innovation. All right, so this is
a very quick snapshot of what these skills are–
what it means to be real, to know what matters, to be
those values wherever you are, to strive to align what you
do with what you care about and to convey what matters
to you through stories; to be able to
envision your future and hold yourself accountable
for pursuing what matters most; to be whole, clarifying
what matters most to you; to be helping other people
all the time so that you’re building supportive networks
and taking what you have in one part of your life and
applying it in the others; and being smart about how
you manage boundaries. Sometimes that means
creating firm boundaries, where you focus just on one
person or one thing at a time. Other times it
means merging them. But it’s all about
conscious, deliberate choice and experimentation and weaving
the different pieces together in a way that works
for you and for them. To be innovative means
focusing our results and letting the means
for their achievement happen flexibly among
the people around you. To be creative about
resolving conflicts– where you see a conflict, look
differently at the situation. Where is there an opportunity
for this to be a win-win? And to be looking
back and saying, we don’t have to do it that
way, and looking forward and saying, how can we
do it some way different, and having the
courage and support to try new ways of
getting things done. And finally to be teaching
other people all the time. So these are the skills. This is a little overwhelming. Don’t freak out. What I want you to do is think
about one of these right now, the one that is most
important for you to focus on now based on what
you were just thinking about, perhaps as you were
listening to me talk about these six
remarkable people or in the self-assessment
you just did. If you had to choose one
that you could strengthen, choose one. And then what I
would like you to do is actually come up with an
idea for how you could do that. And then talk about it with
somebody else in the room that you’re willing
to talk to about this. So here’s what I’m
asking you to do. It’s real simple. I think you will benefit from
this, so give it a shot, OK? Which is the most important
one for you to focus on? What could you do right now
that would make you stronger on that skill? What action could you take
in the next week or so? Be creative. And finally, if you did this
thing, this new thing that would strengthen this skill,
what impact would that have on your work, either
now or in the long game, maybe over the course,
your whole life? Because that’s how I think
about the integration of the different parts, not
balance minute-to-minute. That’s impossible. Forget that. Think instead about harmony over
the course of your whole life, as these people have, and as all
of us have the capacity to do. At home, in the community,
and for yourself, where would be the positive
impact of this thing that you might try
that would strengthen that skill that’s
important to you? You can sketch out
a note about this. This is actually what’s on
the back of the handout, but you probably don’t need it. There is a handout. Do you have it? So just take a minute to
think about, what could I do? What could I do now
that would strengthen the skill that
matters much to me? And what positive
impact would that have on the different parts? All right, so just take a
minute to think of an idea. It can be half formed. [CHATTER] All right, so here’s
what I’d like you to do. Do you have an idea? AUDIENCE: Not yet. STEW FRIEDMAN: Not yet. You’re still thinking? I want you to think with
somebody else, somebody preferably who you don’t know. That would be better. So what I’d like you to do
for the next five minutes, find a discussion partner,
preferably someone you do not know. It’s better that
way and be more fun. Where you take a few minutes,
here’s what I’m thinking. What do you think? And she does the same. Is this something
you’re willing to do? AUDIENCE: Yeah. STEW FRIEDMAN: OK,
it’s really simple. So you’re coaching here, right? So all you have to do is, how
would practicing this skill create a greater
sense of harmony among the different parts
and improve all them? And what exactly would
you be doing here? And how would you know this
was improving your performance? So just ask those
questions, pay attention, give someone else the gift
of your caring attention for just a few minutes. [CHATTER] STEW FRIEDMAN: How can you
help each other going forward? I can tell you how. If you talk to each
other occasionally, maybe just text
or a quick hello. How is that idea going? Are you doing it? This is really important. And I know this from
literally decades of trying to do
this kind of work. You cannot do it on your own. And if you have somebody
else who’s interested and wants to help you and
learn by teaching you, you stay connected somehow
in a very light way. It doesn’t have to be a
deep, long conversation. Just continue to pay attention. And I hope you
will continue that. Let me give you a really quick
overview of the three dozen exercises that are in
the back half of the book that you can choose from
to focus on these skills. So there’s two exercises
that I’ve, again, curated from the literature on how
you create positive change for each one of the skills. So I’ll just mention
a couple of them. And then we’ll wrap up. So one of my favorites is
find the larger meaning in terms of trying to align
your actions with your values. And all that really asks you
to do– it’s pretty simple– is think about what’s the
big purpose of what you’re trying to do with
your work every day? A lot of people don’t
think about that. And when you do, you
see a greater connection between what you’re
doing, or you can find a greater connection
between what you’re doing every day and what
is really important to you. Autobiography– that’s also
pretty straightforward. And if you want to
get good at conveying your values through stories,
which other people want to hear from you, because
they want to see you as a human being just
like them, someone who has struggled to try to achieve
something that matters and has faced adversity and
somehow surmounted it, you reflect on the two or
three or four critical episodes of your life history that
have shaped who you are. And then figure out a
way to convey those, if you’re willing, to people who
would be interested in hearing about them as a way
of conveying, again, what matters most to you. Time travel is another
cool thing to do. It’s 15 years from now. Describe a day in the life. What happens? Who are you with
when you wake up? What are you doing? What impact are you
having on the world? So those are some
simple exercises to do to help you to get better
at acting with authenticity by clarifying what
matters most to you. For being whole, a
couple of exercises that you might want to try. We heard something
just like this now, the Segment and Merge exercise. So here what you
do is take some way in which the two parts of your
life, or three or four of them, intersect. And try segmenting them. And that’s kind of
what you just did here. Bounding time and place
for just one thing, and it could be just
for five minutes, or it could be for a day,
or it could be for week. But try segmenting in a way
that you haven’t before so that you can bring total
focus to one person or thing. See what happens. And then try the opposite. Try bringing together
two ports your life that normally would
be very separated. And what happens there? And what you discover
by consciously and deliberately experimenting
with segmenting and merging is how to be smarter about
creating those boundaries. It really just take stepping
back, experimenting, and seeing what happens,
and then learning from that. So those are some ideas
about being whole. Now, exercises for
practicing some of the skills of
being innovative– I’ll just mention two,
and then we’ll wrap up. Crowdsourcing solution– so most
people in this room I suspect are probably pretty creative. But sometimes you get stuck. And you see a dilemma, and you
just can’t find a solution. A really simple way to do
this– and you probably do this in your work life pretty
regularly– bring together a couple of people who
you trust and you’re willing to talk about
opportunities for alternatives. And generate creative
solutions with them. So you crowdsource
solutions to problems that you’re facing in the
different parts of your life. And finally, challenging
your beliefs– research on behavioral therapy
for depression, cognitive behavioral therapy,
is quite profound insights from that literature, which show
that a lot of what holds people back from trying something new
that’s going to make them feel a greater sense of
control in their lives is their beliefs about
what might happen if they did try something new. And if you challenge
those, and the exercise that I describe
in the book helps you to just in a simple
way look at the beliefs that you have about a
certain course of action. It actually minimizes your
own resistance and your fear. There’s lots more, but we’re
reaching the end of the hour. I hope that these ideas
have sparked your thinking about what you can do to build
the capacity to bring together the different
parts of your life. Let me just ask
you really quickly, what do you take
away from what we’ve been talking about
here, what I’ve been saying for the
last hour or so? What’s the big idea for you? AUDIENCE: Action. STEW FRIEDMAN: Action. That’s it. Just do something, yes. So I begin the second
part of the book, after telling the stories, with,
when you read these stories, you’ll see the thing that comes
through is just this idea. These people don’t sit still. They’re moving,
moving all the time and then reflecting
on what it is that they’re learning
from their action. What else do you take away? AUDIENCE: Small changes. STEW FRIEDMAN: Small
changes towards a big idea. It’s something we
all know intuitively. And it’s within
everyone’s grasp. And that’s the beauty of small. You make it small enough
so that other people aren’t terrified by what you’re trying,
and they see that, in fact, what you’re trying to do is good
for them, too, assuming it is, and of course, that’s part of
what you think about here when you take the four-way view. What else? Let’s get one more. Yeah? AUDIENCE: There’s no
such thing as balance. STEW FRIEDMAN: There’s
no such thing as balance. All right, that’s
a fitting– I mean, you can talk about balance,
but it’s misguided. The metaphor I prefer
is the jazz quartet. So you’ve got these
four instruments, right? And they’re
improvising on a theme over the course of
your whole life. You’re trying to
make beautiful music. But sometimes you only
hear the trumpet, right? Sometimes maybe it’s only
family or it’s only work. Sometimes you just hear
the bass and the drums. It doesn’t have to all
be at the same amplitude at the same time, thinking
instead about harmony over the long haul. That’s what these
folks have done. They also prove
that achievement, significant achievement
in the world, comes from taking action, taking
compassionate action that’s designed to take whatever
is unique about you, your passions, your
skills, your talents, and bringing them to
bear in a positive way on the world around you. That’s what each of
these people has done. And if you think
about the people you admire who have had
lives of significance, I’m pretty sure they will
have done the same thing. So the paradox of the title is
that leading the life you want requires striving all the time
to be helping other people. That’s what’s liberating is the
idea of taking what you have and bringing it to the world. And that finally, accomplishment
in one’s career or public life comes not so much at the
expense of the other parts, but rather because
of the commitments that you have to the
different parts of your life. And you can develop these
skills if you focus on doing so. And I hope that you’ll
continue to do that. So thanks for joining us
today and for your attention. And thanks again,
Ashley, for inviting me. [APPLAUSE]

2 thoughts on “Stew Friedman: “Leading the Life You Want” | Talks at Google”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *